Electronic Design

Company Wire

  • Semiconductor maker Mitsubishi Electric has agreed to pay royalties to Rambus, becoming the seventh such company to sign a patent license agreement with the chip designer. Mitsubishi will pay royalties for memory chip designs and chip sets. This follows Rambus' other royalty agreements with Samsung Electronics, NEC, Hitachi, Oki Electric Industry, Toshiba, and Elpida Memory.

  • Cadence Design Systems Inc., a supplier of electronic design products and services, has acquired CadMOS Design Technology Inc., a privately held design tools firm. The acquisition allows Cadence signal-integrity analysis capabilities to be incorporated into its front- and back-end design solutions. These abilities also will be integrated into the Assura physical verification and extraction tool suite.

  • Digital product development and design company e.Digital Corp. has signed a letter of intent with Eastech, an Asian conglomerate specializing in developing and designing sound, vision, and Internet appliance products for the OEM consumer electronics market. It is expected that Eastech will license e.Digital's MicroCAM technology-based, DataPlay-enabled product designs.

  • The U.S. Air Force has awarded a contract potentially worth $1.3 billion to Boeing Satellite Systems for research and development work on the Wideband Gapfiller, a high-capacity communications satellite system. The initial contract, worth $160.3 million, is for work on three satellites. The Air Force has an option to buy a total of six satellites through 2010. The first satellite is scheduled for launch in 2004.

  • Palm Inc., a manufacturer of PDAs, has allied with Sprint PCS to broaden wireless Internet options on mobile handheld devices. As part of the deal, the companies will offer a new co-branded version of the MyPalm portal, which features access to personal and corporate e-mail, e-commerce, and Web browsing.

  • IBM Corp. and Infineon Technologies are teaming up to deliver magnetic random access memory (MRAM). MRAM uses magnetic, rather than electronic, charges to store bits of data. Potentially faster and less expensive, MRAM will compete with nonvolatile Flash memory. Commercial products are expected in 2004.

  • The Polaroid Corp. and Colorado MicroDisplay Inc. (CMD) will jointly develop and market a new generation of mobile, wireless digital imaging and printing devices. The alliance will build on Polaroid's existing media and CMD's microdisplay technology. The objective is to bring to the consumer marketplace products that offer a larger image size, as well as higher-resolution displays and printing options.

  • Navigation Technologies Corp. will provide automotive map data to Motorola for a server-based navigation application that delivers turn-by-turn route guidance for drivers using digital maps. It will be part of Motorola's iRadio System, scheduled for release in 2002. The server-based navigation enables all of the complex routing calculations and large databases of information, including addresses and routing and traffic preferences, to be stored in the servers. The information is then downloaded in real time to the vehicle through a wireless connection.

  • ERNI Components, an interconnect products and systems manufacturer, has expanded its product portfolio by purchasing another interconnect manufacturer, Maxconn. The move is expected to increase the company's competitiveness in the telecommunications, data communications, and computer PC markets. This acquisition fits into ERNI's plan to provide customers in every market with complete connector solutions. As a result of this deal, a new group dubbed ERNI China will be formed to support the manufacturing of Maxconn and some ERNI products.

  • Sensor manufacturer Thermometrics Global Business is partnering with LG Electronics of Korea to create an infrared-technology company named Thermometrics Technologies. The joint venture will develop products for noncontact temperature sensing with manufacturing carried out in the company's Seoul, South Korea, plant. Because IR temperature sensors are built using silicon semiconductor technology, they exhibit fast response times and high sensitivity, while offering acceptable cost. Also, they may be fabricated as drop-in replacements for existing thick-film sensors. IR devices produced by the alliance will target automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer applications.

  • STMicroelectronics is purchasing the assets of the consumer electronics (CE) business of Ravisent Technologies Inc., a provider of digital audio, video software, and Internet appliance technology. The acquisition includes the CineMaster CE DVD technology's intellectual property. Ravisent also will license its digital TV and Internet browser technology to STMicroelectronics. Combining the CineMaster CE DVD software with STMicroelectronics' STi55xx Omega family of DVD decoder processors should give OEMs advanced and complete DVD solutions.

  • Microchip Technology Inc. has merged with TelCom Semiconductor Inc. This move combines Microchip's experience in embedded control applications with TelCom's work in analog products. Together, the companies will develop power-management, thermal-management, and other linear/mixed-signal ICs.

  • Geotest MTS Inc. has partnered with GuideTech to design and market PXI time-interval counters. Specifically, Geotest will rehost GuideTech's time-interval counter family on the PXI platform. The new products, to be introduced in the second quarter, will include four 100-MHz and 1.3-GHz time-interval counters. Geotest supplies PXI, PCI, and ISA test systems, equipment, and software, while GuideTech offers precision time-measurement products based on time-interval analyzer technology.
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